Ranking 2022-23's Favorite (Active) NBA Stars
The NBA is one of the easiest sports leagues to enjoy. Even for casual sports fans, the NBA's quick pace and excellent showmanship make it a stellar option. In fact, many NBA stars are larger than life - and have a massive following that includes more than sports fans.
Even fans who would never head to a live game and who might not understand what a pick-and-roll is probably know who LeBron James and Steph Curry are. And now that the US has expanded its sport betting options, there are even more ways for these types of casual fans to dive into the action.
For example, even if one of Kevin Durant's biggest fans has no idea whether the Nets are likely to win a matchup against the Celtics, they can still wager on KD for other outcomes. In fact, sportsbooks listed on sites like OddsChecker continually diversify their player prop options.
These player props let bettors target specific scoring and defensive outcomes for specific stars. How many points will they score? How many three-pointers? And how many assists? And when it comes to the 2022-23 season's fan favorites, which players are taking up most of the attention this year? Let's dive in below, looking at things like social media following and reputation.
When it comes to social media following, there's no basketball player that can compete with LeBron James. At the moment, he has over 140 million followers on Instagram alone, where he goes by the handle KingJames. And King James he is.
Alongside his staggering social media following, LeBron is one of the most recognizable sports stars in the world. His merchandise sells out around the world, including jerseys, hats, and shoe designs. However, as the irrefutable King of the NBA enters his final seasons, who will replace King James?
When it comes to influential stars in the NBA, Steph Curry is often mentioned right behind LeBron James. In fact, he's a frontrunner to replace LeBron in terms of legacy. Much of that comes from his time in San Francisco, where he’s literally changed the direction of the sport.
Curry has helped steer the NBA toward a more three-pointer-centric era. While not everyone would contend that this is a good thing, Curry revitalized the sport. So, what makes him a fan favorite? Curry is known for a family-oriented attitude and his long presence in San Francisco, where he's widely adored as a hero. But with only 47 million followers, he's got a long way to go in replacing King James.
Over the last few months, Kyrie Irving has hit a few bumps in the road - mostly due to his relationship with Kanye West. However, if there’s one stable factor in Irving's life, it's that he has the support and adoration of millions of NBA fans.
With over 18 million followers, Irving has picked up huge engagement thanks to his philosophies off the court. While his domination and skill as a basketball player aren't overlooked, it seems that Irving's charm is similar to Kevin Durant’s (below) in that he speaks his mind honestly and often.
Like others on this list, Kevin Durant is widely regarded as one of this generation's greatest NBA talents. He's also known for being off-the-cuff in his approach to the media and his social media accounts… so, what makes him a fan favorite? When it comes to Durant and his nearly 12 million Instagram followers, much of the focus is seeing what KD will do next.
Most of KD's career has played out like a lone man's journey that never quite pans out. Despite being one of the most prolific players of his generation, KD has been "robbed" of NBA championships multiple times - first with the Oklahoma City Thunder and most recently with the Brooklyn Nets. Will KD ever pull it together like he did with the Dubs? Or is that what makes him a fan favorite - having absolutely no idea what will come next?